Cook green beans in boiling salted water until tender, about 3 or 4 minutes. Drain well.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add brandy or cognac, red wine and chicken broth, bring to a boil. Simmer to blend flavors and reduce sauce, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add green beans to mushroom sauce and toss to coat. Place on a large serving dish, season again with salt and pepper, to taste.
Top with fried onions before serving.
2 quarts peanut oil, for frying
2 large red onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups arborio rice coating, recipe follows
Heat peanut oil in a deep fryer or deep pot to 375 degrees F.
Put onion rings in a large bowl. Pour buttermilk over onions and toss to coat. Shake off the excess liquid.
Dip onions into Arborio rice coating, covering thoroughly
Fry the onions in small batches until crispy, about 2 minutes per batch. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Season with salt, to taste.
Arborio Rice Coating:
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semolina
2 tablespoons fine salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Grind the rice in a blender or spice grinder to a very fine powder. Put it in a bowl and add the flour, semolina, salt and pepper. Toss until well blended. Store in a sealed container in the freezer for maximum freshness.